Queens today produced a battling performance that deservedly earned them a share of the points against a full-time St.Johnstone side that were probably the best side that has visited Palmerston this campaign. There were two changes to the starting line-up today as Steve Bowey failed to recover from a twisted ankle in time for the game, Brian McColligan his straight replacement and Gary Wood starting upfront with Andy Aitken sitting on the bench. Also on the bench was Emilio Jaconelli.
The game started in the manner that it was to maintain for the full ninety minutes with never a chance for either side to catch its breath. Within the first five minutes Saints had crafted an excellent opening with Robertson feeding Donnelly who in turn set up Paul Bernard, David Bagan though was also on hand and nipped the ball away from Bernard just inside the box as the Perth man was sizing up a shot.
Joe's effort set up another free-kick
Queens almost opened the scoring shortly after as Sean O'Connor beat his man down the left and played the ball back to Paul Burns, the youngster delayed his effort and turned the ball across the face of the goal for Gary Wood to strike an effort that was deflected past the goals for a corner. That was a bout as much of the match as Sean O'Connor was to see as moments later he went down in a challenge and had to be taken from the field to be treated.
As the big man was receiving attention the part-time and now ten-man side went ahead - and it was from the unlikeliest of sources, Brian McColligan picked up the ball on the left hand side of the box and when everyone was looking for a cross he neatly lobbed it over Cuthbert in the Saints goal and into the back of the net, almost a year to the day from his last Queens goal, the opener against Falkirk. As the fans celebrated the substitution of O'Connor for Lyle was made.
Saints though were as keen as ever to push forward and it was former Palmerston favourite Brian McLaughlin that almost made us pay as the winger broke down the left and homed in on goal before unleashing a shot that Jim Thomson did well to push away. Also dangerous for Saints but with little end result was Keigan Parker who tormented Joe McAlpine on occasion but who, to Joe's credit wasn't allowed to make a meaningful impact.
It was end to end stuff and both Queens and Saints had chances, Saints with a couple of corners that were cleared and blocked and Queens with a couple of free kicks that again were cleared and blocked. On the half-hour mark John Robertson lifted a clever ball into the Queens box where Paul Bernard put a touch on it to send it goalward, just too high this time though. The final action of the half was another Saints effort with Parker this time having sight of goal but not being able to beat Colin Scott who blocked away his effort.
Brian Reid heads goalward
The team ran out at half-time with a change for Queens as Willie Gibson replaced Derek Lyle and played down the left allowing Wood and Burke to spearhead the attack. Whilst the Saints dominated proceedings and made some chances without making a break through, Queens were having the best of the clear-cut efforts. A Brian Reid header at a corner was somehow blocked on the line and Alex Burke turned the defence on the edge of the box after being fed by Willie Gibson, Burkies effort just flashing past the wrong side of the post. At the other end Mark Robertson had a twenty-five yard effort that crashed off the junction of the bar and the upright and it looked at that point as if it just wasn't going to be St.Johnstone's day.
From the clearance ball Willie Gibson broke clear down the left and sent a cross in that everyone else seemed to think was putting Gary Wood and Alex Burke in an offside position, however neither Burke nor Wood stalled and Wood produced a bicycle kick that somehow Cuthbert saved at point-blank range, it was a superb reaction save. Moments later Willie Gibson waltzed through the visitors defence but after beating everyone sent in a poor shot that went well wide when better options were arriving. Then a combination of McAlpine, Gibson and Reid saw the big defenders shot blocked away and the follow-up tipped over the cross-bar.
Joe almost steals it
Queens it seemed had weathered the storm and were beginning to look likely to increase their lead - until a loose ball on the right hand side of the Queens penalty box was pounced upon by former Doonhamer Brian McLaughlin and he shot toward goal where a Jim Thomson deflection put the ball past Colin Scott. The scores were tied
The final twenty minutes saw both sides looking for the winner with Queens finishing the match on the ascendency and almost snatching it with a couple of late efforts, however in fairness Saints are the best side to have come calling this season and a share of the points was a fair result.